Hillsdale First United Methodist Church will host a free community dinner this weekend, and they will collect donations for the Karan Jenkins Preschool.
On Nov. 2, from 5 – 7 p.m., local residents can attend the church’s free community dinner at 45 N. Manning St. According to the church’s website, the menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and pie.
Jan Tesch — who oversees the church’s food needs — said visitors can sit down to eat or get a takeout dinner. The church has been hosting free community dinners for several years, Tesch said, and it puts on four dinners a year, each of which gives donations to a local nonprofit.
“It’s to show the love of God to everybody. We are open to everybody: our neighbors, the community,” Tesch said. “We know that nonprofits need donations to keep going.”
Tesch estimates about 200 people will show up at the November dinner, with 100 of those getting takeout dinners.
As part of receiving donations from the attendees, nonprofits also send in people to help run the meals. Tesch said people come to help in a variety of ways, including serving drinks and clearing tables. This is a good opportunity for members of a nonprofit to have a hand in the event, she said.
Karan Jenkins Preschool — which has been the recipient of the church’s November dinner in the past — will send board members, including parents, to volunteer at the dinner. According to Lead Teacher Tana Trombly, the board is comprised of parents, herself, her associate teacher, and a church liaison.
“The parents are welcome to bring the kids and help out,” Trombly said. “I know that a lot of the individuals that come to enjoy the dinner also enjoy seeing the kids and watching them help out.”
Trombly said she finds the community dinner special because of the people who come out and their willingness to give money. It’s also a good way to support and take part in the community.
“It’s very heartwarming to have people come to this wonderful meal, and anything that they feel they would like to donate, all those proceeds go to the school and help us greatly,” Trombly said. “We charge a small amount of tuition, but we’re not rolling in funds, so everything helps.”
Trombly said the school board is looking at using the proceeds in a few different ways. They are considering putting them toward operational costs, field trips for the students, and licensing fees.
The preschool has been housed in the First United Methodist Church building on and off since the school began in 1968. After the church’s most recent construction projects, Trombly said the teachers, parents, and children are happy to be back in the building.